D  e  s  e  r  t     E  x  p  o  s  u  r  e    November 2005

Features

After the Storm
First on the scene after Hurricane Katrina.

The Vintage Hunt
An elk-hunting trip armed with yesteryear's weapons.

Sending in the Cavalry
R.L. Curtin plans to re-enact Pershing's 1916 ride.

Tools for Living
Silver City links to the Niņo a Niņo project in Oaxaca.

Ganging Up
Trying to put a lid on the area's growing gang problem.

Is the Sky Really Falling?
Deming gun guru Rick Reese thinks he will be ready.

How West Met East
The Butterfield Trail blazed a 2,800-mile path into history.

Columns & Departments
Editor's Note
Letters
Desert Diary
Tumbleweeds:
Screen Gems
Weaving Fiber Artists Together
Tumbleweeds in Brief
Top 10
Into the Future
Celestial Cycles
The Starry Dome
Borderlines
Ramblin' Outdoors
40 Days & 40 Nights
Clubs Guide
Guides to Go
Henry Lightcap's Journal
Continental Divide


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Arts Exposure:
Angels on Her Shoulder
Arts News
Gallery Guide

Body, Mind & Spirit
Birth of a Notion

Red or Green?
Restaurant Guide

Hatch Restaurants & Ristras
Casablanca Review
Table Talk News
Dining Guide


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The Whiff of an Idea

If something's rotten in Denmark, she could smell it—from here.

To say that my wife has an exceptional sense of smell is a gross understatement; I learned that fact the hard way along about 30 years ago.

At the time we lived in the Pennsylvania countryside and I was running a small trap line from the house. I'd get up in the wee hours before dawn and trek forth into the darkness to check my half-dozen traps while my true love languished in our bed.

One morning I came upon my first trap, which lay hidden in a fencerow between two overgrown fields, and discovered a somewhat agitated skunk caught in it.

I carried a .22 revolver to dispatch any and all critters, and I would slowly move to within three feet or so and dispatch them with a lead slug between the eyes. But no way was I going to venture to such a close proximity of this critter!

So I maneuvered around until I had a clear shooting lane through the brush at a distance of some 10 yards. Unfortunately, I was now downwind and when I shot I missed. The skunk shot back and he didn't miss. This shooting contest went on until I finally won, but not without consequences.

Now, we lived in a two-story house and the door to my den was on the basement level behind the garage. I had no more than put two steps into the still-darkened room when my wife ordered, "You get the heck back out of there and don't come back in with any of those clothes on!" She was still in the upstairs bedroom and I marveled at her depth of smell perception as I backed right on out of there!

With that lone incident my ordeal in life began. Allow me to digress at this point and explain that I have very little sense of smell. A malodorous scent would likely have to smack me in the face for me to get a whiff of it, and that explains why I find the slight scent of skunk essence to be somewhat pleasant. Since I can't smell the foulness in the air, it never bothers me.

That's where my wife Jeri and I come to odds, because she is constantly complaining that she smells something repulsive and insists that I get rid of it, even when I don't have it. It drives me crazy!

To make matters worse, her sense of smell has become more acute with each passing day. This past weekend her growing odor sensitivity culminated in the absolutely amazing.

As I pen this, we have occupied our new house in the country for nigh unto two months. Three days ago Jeri came in and declared that she could smell mice in the laundry room; more specifically, she could smell mice turds. Say what?!

And with that declaration she began to tear into the room. Sure enough, after a short while she came out with a triumphant smile and said that she had found copious amounts of the offending fresh excrement in the rag basket.

I was both astounded and amazed simultaneously at her ability, but it also meant that I had to get rid of the little critter (actually, in a 24-hour period I have caught five of the buggers).

Then just yesterday another incident happened. I was working in the yard when my wife came out and asked where was the smoke coming from? Huh? What smoke? I then added that she was truly amazing and absolutely nothing gets past that nose of hers.

That's when the revelation hit me. I proceeded to tell her that I thought that she would be very good in helping me find quail come this next bird season. She could quarter back and forth in front of me, and when she smelled a covey, she could then stop and point a finger at them, as her nose twitched merrily side to side.

She laughed at that and good-naturedly exclaimed that I would first have to catch and let her smell a quail so that she would know the scent. Eureka!

Imagine the newfound marital opportunities for bliss as we merrily wander the hills and dales together—a true couple. I would carry a shotgun and she would wear a bright orange vest. Why, I'd even let her carry the dead birds in that new vest if she wanted to.

Think of all of the possibilities. She could learn to smell deer and elk and black bear and cougar. The sky is the limit!

We two could become the greatest husband-wife hunting team to ever lurk the earth!

Hmmmmm, I wonder if fish give off smells in the water?

As always, keep the sun forever at your back, the wind forever in your face, and may the Forever God bless you too out there.

Larry Lightner writes Ramblin' Outdoors monthly for Desert Exposure.

 

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